The fourth episode of Peacemaker made its debut on HBO Max on Thursday, providing the next chapter in James Gunn, John Cena, and company's first foray into DC television. The live-action series has balanced the individual story of Christopher Smith / Peacemaker (Cena) and his cohorts with some unique connections to the DC universe, including some epic references and homages to other characters. The fourth episode might have already topped any of those references, with a name drop of arguably one of the weirdest characters to ever be in DC's arsenal. Spoilers for Episode 4 of Peacemaker, "The Choad Less Traveled", below! Only look if you want to know!
Early on in the episode, Peacemaker and Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) are talking about Adrian Chase / Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) and whether or not he can be trusted on the team. Peacemaker admits that he isn't entirely sure, because ever since he "had a team-up with Matter-Eater Lad", his sense of what's normal hasn't been the same. As Peacemaker then reveals, he once saw Matter-Eater Lad eat an entire restaurant, after he was unhappy with how his fries were cooked.
Created by Jerry Siegel and John Forte in 1962's Adventure Comics #303, Tenzil Kem / Matter-Eater Lad is a costumed character who, as the name suggests, has the ability to eat all matter, something he inherited from his home planet. Matter-Eater Lad then serves as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but admittedly one who is only sporadically used, and is often associated with the weirder annals of DC lore.
"It's almost like playing a massive prank on the DCU making Bat-Mite canon," Gunn recently told ComicBook.com. "I think I can't say there was some big thought process to it. I'm writing, and these things come up, and then I just sort of go with them. I do think that Peacemaker's relationship to other superheroes is very specific. He is envious. He wants to be in that holy trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. He is not. He wants to be a member of the Justice League, and they would never let him into the Justice League. He wishes that people loved him as much as they love Aquaman, but they don't."
"So he believes anything and kind of picks out what he wants to believe on the Internet, which any random Joe has tweeted or put on," Gunn continued. "He also doesn't quite understand the Internet. He's not very well versed in the Internet, so he sees something on Facebook, and somehow he thinks that's fact. But I think that it also serves his envy to be these things about people."
What do you think of Peacemaker referencing Matter-Eater Lad? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
New episodes of Peacemaker debut Thursdays exclusively on HBO Max.